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review 2018-11-07 02:40
Hocus Pocus ★☆☆☆☆ (DNF)
Hocus Pocus - Kurt Vonnegut

I gave it my best for 40 pages, but finally just saw no reason to continue. This book does have a perverse sort of humor and is funny in places, but it was also off-puttingly angry. The conceit of this book is that it is the disjointed scribblings of a (possibly mad) man who is imprisoned in a library, and he decides to write his life story on random little scraps of paper he found laying about. So even as I recognize that the story's rambly structure and style is meant to illustrate the set up, I still found myself utterly unable to summon the will to keep reading. YMMV

 

DNF at 40/325 pages. Paperback, picked up from... somewhere, and had been sitting on my shelf for 3 years. Fly free now, little book, and I hope you end up with someone who wants to read this kind of drivel. 

 

I was attempting to read this for The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season game, for door 19 Festivus (Dec. 23) book task: Read any comedy, parody, or satire. Instead, I'm going to listen to the audio of Carol Burnett's In Such Good Company

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review 2018-10-20 16:03
The Shadow of Polperro ★☆☆☆☆
The Shadow of Polperro - Frances Cowan

This book hits the jackpot of terrible books. The characters are uninteresting. The pace is amazingly slow for a 235 page book, with a lot of boring information about characters going places and completing mundane tasks that do nothing to advance the story. The egregious misuse of punctuation and sentence structure had me re-reading paragraphs multiple times in order to make any sense of them.

 

I’m not even going to bother with a synopsis, I’ve already spent more time on this book than it deserves.

 

I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Gothic: any book with significant: a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance. It definitely fits the definition of gothic – spooky old ruined castle with a tragic history, strange accidents that might be supernatural in origin, beautiful young woman alone in the world and in peril, an old woman with supernatural gifts. And a handsome young man to give her a happily ever after, although it breaks from the gothic mold here as he is not darkly brooding and mysterious and a little violent in his temper and passions. He’s just a nice, stable young man with a good job.

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review 2018-10-11 00:24
20th Century Ghosts ★★★☆☆
20th Century Ghosts - Joe Hill,Christopher Golden

This was, for me, a wildly uneven collection of short stories. I truly enjoyed a little over half of the 15 stories, with several 5 stars among them. The remaining ones didn’t connect for me at all. Pop Art was probably the best, one of those stories that will stick with you long after finishing it. My other favorites: 20th Century Ghost; You Will Hear the Locust Sing; Better Than Home; Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead; and Voluntary Committal.

 

Hardcover version that has been sitting on my shelf for four years, waiting to be read.

 

I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Ghost Stories: any story involving ghosts or hauntings, including haunted houses, buildings, graveyards, etc

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review 2018-10-09 00:09
The Bad Beginning ★☆☆☆☆
A Series of Unfortunate Events 1: The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket

I have no idea why this book/series is so popular. I can see, sort of, why children may love it. Many of the books I loved as a kid were no better, and this has brave, clever orphans (boy AND girl), a cute baby sister, mean ugly villains, disbelieving adults, and a horrible house. The only thing it’s missing is a dog.

 

But this just doesn’t seem well-written to me. The characters are just caricatures. There’s nothing especially clever about the setup or the world the characters are placed in. There are none of the clever observations about human nature or winking humor or enjoyably silly word games that made Rowling’s books so appealing. I suppose some might find the little asides (by the way, that word means _______) funny and were obviously meant in jest, but I found them annoying. And the forced marriage device plot involving a 14 year old child, with the adult characters’ innuendos about how pretty she is and about the marriage night, was just plain disturbing, not to mention the implication that marriage, once committed to, even under duress, is a lifetime trap.

 

Hardcover version, picked up at a church rummage sale. I ought to put it in the library donation box, but I'm honestly considering dropping it in the recycle bin instead. 

 

 

I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Thirteen: any book that relates to bad luck, superstitions, including (but not limited to) black cats, ravens or crows, or the unlucky number 13, either in the title, series, book cover or page count.

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review 2018-07-17 02:35
An American Killing ★☆☆☆☆
An American Killing - Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Ugh. It started off so well. The characters seemed interesting and the writing was okay and I was curious to know more about the powerful politician found dead in an apparently accidental case of autoerotic asphyxiation, but maybe was murdered instead. Then it all went to heck on page 18, when the first person narrator suddenly began swinging between present tense and past tense, the story became clogged with celebrity name-dropping, and it became painfully obvious that the author was drawing so heavily on the Ann Rule/Ted Bundy story that it completely kicked me out of the story. I did power through to page 50, but there’s no way I could bring myself to finish the book.

 

DNF on page 50. Hardcover, purchased years ago on a whim from a clearance table at a big box bookstore that has long since gone out of business.

 

Previous Updates:

7/15/18 – 15/368 pg

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